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  CA-7 Wirraway Serial Number A20-160  
RAAF
4 Squadron

Former Assignments
1 AD
3 SFTS

Tech Info
Australian Army Dec 1942

Tech Info
Australian Army Dec 1942

Pilot  F/O George Hockings, 405250 (KIA) Chelmer, QLD
Observer  Major William Francis O'Hara. NX100719 2 Australian Air Liaison Section (KIA) Enfield, NSW
Crashed  December 22, 1942


Aircraft History
Built by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC). Constructor Number 160.

Wartime History
On November 12, 1940 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as CA-7 Wirraway serial number A20-A20-160. On November 12, 1940 received by 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On December 9, 1940 assigned to 3 SFTS. On April 7, 1941 assigned to 2 STS, but never taken up.

On April 17, 1941 took off piloted by V. A. Collyer, 402935 on a flight and suffered an oil pressure loss and force landed at Coolangatta Airfield. The pilot survived unhurt. Afterwards, assigned to 7 SFTS, but never taken up.

On May 31, 1941 assigned to 4 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

On March 23, 1942 this Wirraway was heavily damaged and unable to be repaired in situ. Afterwards, repaired by April 6, 1942 and returned to service.

On April 13, 1942 took off piloted P/O J. R. Mowbray on a flight and suffered an engine failure and made a wheels up landing near Melbourne.

On November 16, 1942 flown northward to operate from Berry Drome (12 Mile) near Port Moresby.

Mission History
On December 22, 1942 took off from Berry Drome (12 Mile) near Port Moresby piloted by F/O George Hockings on as one of six Wirriways on a tactical reconnaissance mission over Buna, Simemi Creeek and Giropa Point. Aboard was observer Major William Francis O'Hara, 2 Australian Air Liaison Section. Over Buna, hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire and crashed in flames killing both crew on impact. This Wirraway was officially written off on December 23, 1942.

Recovery of Remains
The next day, Australian Army soldiers buried the remains of both crew members at the crash site and were marked with a cross.

O'Hara was later buried at Warren Front - Buna at row 1 grave 6 map ref 2788-2375  Buna Target Map 24.

Hockings was initially buried at the crash site Map Ref 2785-2375 Buna Target No. 24. On August 4, 1943 buried at Cape Endaiadere War Cemetery at plot D, row B, grave 3. On November 24, 1946 buried at Soputa War Cemetery at grave U. A. 4. Finally, transported to Port Moresby for permanent burial.

Memorials
Both crew members were officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, both crew were permanently buried at Bomana War Cemetery (Port Moresby War Cemetery). Hockings at B8. C. 22. O'Hara at B8. C. 25.

References
No. 4 Squadron Operations Record Book (ORB) - December 18, 1943
"22/12/42 –  Land/recce. Arty/Obs. and Gun/spotting by six (6) aircraft in BUNA, SENINA CREEK [sic], GIROPA POINT areas. A20-160 Flying Officer G. HOCKINGS and Major W. F. O.'HARA (Passenger) 2 Aust. Air Liaison Section. Whilst carrying out tactical reconnaissance in BUNA area, aircraft was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire and crashed in flames. Both occupants killed. Aircraft completely destroyed."
ADF Serials - Wirraway A20-160
CWGC - George Hocking
CWGC - William Francis O'Hara
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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